Google to shut down Neighbourly, its local community information app
Google is one of the most successful Internet companies in the world, driven by wide usage of its core products such as Search, Gmail, YouTube, and Android. However, the company has seen a fair amount of failed products as well, especially the social products; the latest to join this list is Neighbourly. This experimental app was launched in mid-2018 to help people learn more about their neighbourhood by asking other residents. Google has now announced that it will be shutting down Neighbourly on May 12 this year, after which the app will no longer be available to use across all platforms.
In an email to Neighbourly users, Google states that Neighbourly ‘hasn’t grown like we had hoped’ suggesting the reason for the shutdown of the service is weak continued usage of the app. The app was popular in the weeks and months after launch, with Google stating that over a million questions have been answered on the app. However, things don’t seem to have gone well after the initial buzz faded.
Google will be focusing on other apps and services that are already serving a lot of people every day, and suggests that Neighbourly users sign up as Google Maps local guides to continue helping their local communities. That programme uses the much more successful Google Maps as a base, and lets users contribute to Maps with reviews, pictures, ratings, and answers to questions about points of interests that they have visited.
Google launched Neighbourly in Mumbai, as a means to let users get relevant local information from the community itself. It was soon expanded to more Indian cities, and new features were rolled out as well. Unfortunately, none of this was enough to keep Neighbourly relevant enough going into 2020.
Neighbourly joins a not-so-small list of unsuccessful Google social projects, such as Google+, Inbox by Gmail, Allo, and Wave, to name a few. Neighbourly allowed users to ask questions related to their specific localities that could then be answered by other users. While the app is still in use with questions and answers being provided, its waning popularity means that it probably makes sense for Google to divert resources to more useful projects.
Users will be able to download their Neighbourly content and data till October 12, 2020, after which it will no longer be available. The app is currently available to use for the next few weeks, for anyone looking to get local community-sourced information during the ongoing nationwide lockdown.
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